Thursday, June 9, 2016

Defeat, Parting Ways and Faith in the Gap.

This is about a crappy day, a season of memories and a glimpse into what God might be doing.

Yesterday sucked. 
It started a few days ago. Less than adequate sleep (we both just couldn't - probably stress related).
Then my husbands charger got stolen from a local coffee shop. His computer died and he couldn't finish the talk he was working on for our Wednesday night young adult ministry Summer kick off.

Let me back up. We do 3 big kick offs for our ministry: Fall, Winter, Summer. 
Just about every time something heavy comes up in our personal life that seems like quite the attack... the tool of the enemy. Defeat, distraction, discouragement.
Here is the replay for 3 of the 4 of our last kick off events:
1: One of the worst days at work, getting a call on the way to the storage unit to pick up free Ben & Jerry's for everyone that the unit closed early, my car completely overheating and me sweating to death (ok, not really but I have a low heat tolerance and I had to blast the heater while driving). 
2: We have a tradition of bringing "The Taco Man" for free tacos. Just as I started my meal something felt weird. My capped front tooth fell off (never happened before) and I had to rush out embarassed.
3: Our taco man didn't show up. We mailed flyers, invited, promoted "free tacos" and they straight up messed up. This led to me running around (my phone said 5 miles) trying to find a way to feed 150+ people in the next 30 minutes. 

This might all sound dumb but I have worked hard to be back in a place where I am investing myself well. I spent a lot of time doing things I pretty much hated and it took a lot of work to be available and present for what I love. All these challenges felt like defeat. They took me down and I ended up so discouraged. I just wanted to be present and engaged in the role I was meant for; available for what God wanted to do. 

Alright, back to yesterday. 
I had to be up at 6am to work. My husband couldn't sleep again and at 6 he was still awake on the couch. I felt so bad for him knowing the long day we had ahead and how much still needed done. He visited me at work around 12 and looked so defeated. Exhausted. Stressed. Not ready. Discouraged.

I am not the best at actually stopping and praying but I did. I got in my car and prayed for him. I didn't want this to be another kick off day that that sucked. My phone rang and I was surprised he was already calling me. Maybe he needed something he forgot? Nope. He was just in an accident. Most likely totaled his car. Super defeated. Feeling attacked.

Queue the tears. DANG IT. I couldn't really handle another one of these days. This time it was more on him and it was so hard to watch him work so hard and struggle even harder. Yes, we're both hard on ourselves and probably more stressed than we needed to be but come on! This season of ministry has held such new victories and this was an exciting opportunity to invite new people to our space. A chance to really welcome them. A chance to maybe share God's love in a way they have never experienced. The crappy icing on the sucky cake of a day.

We said what were most likely our good-byes to Rudy (who I liked to annoy my husband and call Ruby since it was ruby red) during an already draining day. Rudy was his 4runner which he loved. We met while he had that car and I loved that little detail since I previously owned a similar 4runner that I missed. He slept in Rudy so he could visit me when we dated long distance. We left our wedding in that car. We traveled all over in Rudy. He loves Rudy! Rudy has almost 300k miles and still ran great.

Here is our cars the weekend we met. Don't they look good together?

OK.. Back story and sad rant over.  Moving forward.

So,  we cried a bit and kicked yesterday into gear. We were defeated but weren't going to stay that way. Exhausted but going to push through.

The Kick Off was great. I mean, I knew it would be. Details were in place. Our team is phenomenal and so grace giving and I knew God was bigger than all this junk.

A lot of people came. A lot of new people from local college campuses came. People had great conversations, made new friends, had fun and successfully ate the free taco dinner that showed up.

But more than the cool energy and exciting numbers was the encouragement I felt from what God was doing. I am so proud of my husband for giving the night all his energy and commitment. He didn't pout or give up. He showed up and did his best. I don't know what his message would have looked like if our day was smooth but I heard what he shared. I heard something super raw and fresh. I heard honest struggle. I heard discouragement. BUT I also heard hope. I heard truth of who God is and who we are in Him. I heard an imperfect journey that pointed to a perfect God.

I don't really know what God is doing or did but I can imagine that at least a few people experienced something they needed last night. They experienced comradery in pain. They heard an honest struggle. They heard a bold hope in how we seek God in the midst of junk. Maybe they didn't need a well practice smooth sermon with good points but rather a little rough around the edges talk that pointed significantly towards Jesus despite the fresh struggle.

I think defeat can be good when it pushes us to admit our struggle and invite others in.
I think God draws me towards Him when I am forced to take a deep breath and remember He is bigger. He is bigger. He is bigger.
I think I don't really know why another kick off day had to suck but I choose to remember what I know is true.

"He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completley calm. He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'"
Mark 4:39-40

Last night Charles asked, "Are we faithful with what He has given us?" and I couldn't help but think that I must be faithful with the abundance and with the struggle. For me, part of that is sharing it.

 I am just so thankful that my husband is safe.

Bye, Rudy. We'll miss you.

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